Facts and Figures of Alcoholism

Alcoholism refers to alcohol use disorder. It is a general term for drinking habits that leads to problems. Alcohol consumption may also result in numerous health complications.

Here are the some of the  facts on alcoholism:

  •  Alcohol is the most abused substance in the United States. In a 2012 study of the National Institutes of Health, 7.2% of adult Americans suffered alcohol abuse disorder. It means that 27 million Americans develop alcoholism.
  • 88,000 people die from alcohol related incidence.
  • In an international data, alcohol kills about one person every 10 seconds.
  • Alcohol-related incidence is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • A seemingly harmless social drinking can easily develop into an addiction. However, a person may not develop alcohol abuse in just one drink. Alcohol dependence builds over time.
  • It will only take 6 minutes for brain cells to react to alcohol
  • The body does not digest alcohol, it gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream
  • A person who drinks heavily and consistently can build tolerance for the substance leading to dependency. Having withdrawal symptoms, unrelenting drinking habits are the characteristics of alcohol dependency.
  • Depending on consumption intake, a person can experience alcohol poisoning on their first drinking session.
  • Alcoholism affects men more than women, with a percentage up to 9.9%. One major theory about why men suffer more to alcohol abuse disorder is the presence of higher dopamine in their brains. Dopamine is the hormone that controls the reward and pleasure level in the brain.
  • Functioning alcoholics are harder to spot as they blend in majority of the time with the rest of the “hard working, hard partying types.
  • Genetics also plays a major factor for developing alcohol abuse disorder. Families with a history of alcohol abuse are four times at risk for developing alcoholism than families without.  The odds play at 50-50 chance of acquiring the disease.
  • Not all binge drinking suffers from alcoholism. According to the Center for Disease Control, a heavy drinker who happens to develop alcohol dependence is at 10%. Although binge drinkers are more exposed to develop alcohol abuse disorder.
  • One significant sign of alcoholism is tolerance. The body becomes used to alcohol that the drinker needs to consume more to get the same intoxicating effect.
  • A third of American ages 21 years old and above completely refrains from drinking alcohol. Another third drink not more than 1 drink per week. But the top 10% percent drinks 74 servings per week, which is an average equivalent of over 10 drinks a day.
  • Worldwide, 48% people ages 15 years old and above never drink alcohol
  • If the top 10% of drinkers will cut back at least 15 drinks a day, overall companies will lose about 60%  of their alcohol sales.
  • The acceptable drink for men comprises of two drinks per day of a 12oz bottle of beer or 5oz glass of wine. For women an acceptable drink only falls for one serving of a 12oz bottle of beer or 5oz glass of wine.
  • The United States, along with several countries has the highest minimum drinking age worldwide. Other countries legalize alcohol consumption as low as 16 years old.
  • In some cases, moderate drinking can give some health benefits. However, excessive drinking outweighs the health benefits. Also, there is still a thin line between moderate drinking and heavy drinking.
  • Heavy drinking is not advisable during pregnancy because it can harm the baby. However, there are no studies available if there are any safe level of drinking, abstinence is still recommended.
  • Alcohol consumption is measured in percentage of using ‘blood alcohol content’ unit or BAC. Here are the BAC levels and its intoxicating effects.
0.03% to 0.10% Enhanced Mood, “Feeling Good” “Buzzed
is often attributed to this range.
0.10%  to 0.20% Drunkenness is tending to set in with, delayed reaction time, balance  or visual instabilities
0.20% to 0.30%: Not Fun- confusion, ataxia, nausea, vomiting
0.25% to 0.40%: Time to go to the hospital-Severe loss of muscle coordination, intermittent unconsciousness, erratic heartbeat, urine retention problems
0.35% to 0.80% Very Scary-Intense respiratory depression, coma or even death



  • Studies show that at around the world, 0.7% of people it are drunk RIGHT NOW. That percentage is an equivalent of 50 million people drunk at any given time.
  • Long-term chronic alcohol intake can lead to life-threatening effects such as inflammation of the liver and enlarged failing heart.
  • Withdrawal symptoms can kill heavy drinkers. Long term chronic heavy drinkers develop a strong physical dependence on alcohol. Stopping abruptly puts them at risk of having serious withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include high-temperature fever, chills, tremors, and nausea.
  • A heavy drinker can achieve sobriety with the help of medical assistance thru rehabilitation and detoxification.



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Facts and Figures of Alcoholism
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Dr. Vikram Tarugu, M.D. CEO

Gastroenterologist and medical professional focused on addiction. A veteran in the medical field with over 25 years of professional experience. He is a consultant for many South Florida Rehab centers. Patients travel from allover the US to seek his help with addiction and Hepatitis C treatment.

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